Have you ever experienced good type of pain? If you've ever gone to physical therapy, you know it can hurt! But it's a good kind of pain, because it ultimately, makes you feel better.
Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and welcome to “Joni and Friends.”
Friend, I want you to know this is the place where you are always welcomed, really, you are. And I hope these few minutes together are as encouraging to you as they are to me, because many of you have emailed me to say that you pray for me and, oh, now that I’ve crested 45 years in this wheelchair and heading into 46 I need those prayers. I'm so grateful for your friendship! As time marches on in my paralysis (and you’ve heard me say this), I'm still struggling with more pain—in my hip and lower back.
It’s more pain than I used to have many years ago, but I'm so grateful for Paulette, my physical therapist. She really helps me with pain management. She twists, turns, and stretches my arms and shoulders, my waist and back, pushing and pulling and kneading those muscles. She works on my lower back with a small rubber-tipped instrument I call "the torture tool." I christened it that after my first treatment with Paulette—oh, my goodness, it hurt so bad! It looks like a little wine cork opener, but instead of the corkscrew at the tip, there’s a pointed rubber tip. She grabs hold of that thing and presses it between my muscles, and twists and turns. Yikes, it hurts. I asked if that thing was really necessary, and she said, yes, because I have “myofascial exacerbation.” The sheath between my muscles is inflamed and she helps break up the stiffness and the knots with this little torture tool. When Paulette first started using it, I hated it. It felt as though my muscles were being ripped away from their tendons. After many sessions, however, I have learned that it is this very tool, which has made the biggest difference in my pain levels. It may hurt, but it hurts real good.
God has a tool and holding it in His own hand, He digs, He presses into our lives. The tool is called "suffering," and we hate it! It hurts. And yet the apostle Peter tells us in his first epistle that, "those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” Oh, friend, we really can commit ourselves to Him, and have to utter trust and confidence in His expertise with that tool. When it comes to the suffering He allows to touch our lives, He knows what He is doing. And we are assured in Hebrews chapter 12, verse 10, that “God disciplines us for our good that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Discipline? Yep, it’s anything but pleasant when God applies His torture tool to our lives; and we have every confidence that He knows what we need, and He knows the "harvest of righteousness and peace" that suffering is going to produce in our lives. It may hurt, but it should hurt good.
Are you going through some deep suffering right now? I know I am. Living in this wheelchair is hard, but I want you to join me in not getting overwhelmed or overcome by discouragement. Together, let’s submit to our heavenly Father who loves you and me: our wonderful God who will use these circumstances for a future harvest in your life that may be a little difficult to foresee right now. But, oh, what a harvest of righteousness and peace is in store for you right around the corner. And if you need help remembering that, follow me on Facebook or visit me today on my radio page at joniandfriends.org, and ask for a booklet I wrote called “God's Hand in Our Hardships.” I just finished working on it and I can’t wait for you to read it. Until next time, thanks for listening to "Joni and Friends."
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